Tagged dairy free

RECIPE: Homemade Coconut Milk (or Coconut Creamer) – Easy, Fast, GREAT for Dairy-Free Travelers!

This summer, I have been doing quite a bit of traveling. Starting off in beautiful Italy and then making my way to Latin America, I currently find myself in the middle of a legit jungle – monkeys howling and all – in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica.

Just hanging out off my balcony in Positano, Italy. Totally casual.

This tropical rainforest is amazing and refreshing, but also makes me miss a few small foodie preferences that have been a part of my daily routine for years.

Especially through the most recent experience living off-grid in an isolated, glorified tree house (thankfully with pretty impressive internet to benefit my online clients and me), I learned how to do without a number of American luxuries. These include everything from transportation (no car), no paved roads, no 24-hour convenience stores (or any stores within two miles), and no access to anything from supplements to electronics to mail being reliably being delivered…

Cuddly kittens and warm weather make everything better.

It also includes not being able to find carton-style coconut milk – never mind coconut creamer for coffee. And if you didn’t know, Costa Rica is known for its amazing coffee.

Needless to say, I’m not a milk drinker and never really have been. Anytime I’ve needed a “milk” for something, I’ve opted for the almond or coconut substitution. (If you have my book The Grocery Store Tour Guide, you’re probably familiar with this suggestion.)

Considering the fact that mango, banana, papaya, AND coconut trees are everywhere in this tropical part of the world, I was somewhat surprised that I couldn’t find any carton coconut (or almond) milk near the home I am currently living in. There is one market down the mountain (over 2 miles away and a 90-minute steady walk thanks to the incline) that has one small almond milk carton option, which was unsurprisingly overpriced… and expired by six months.

Luckily, there is also a decently stocked chain supermercado in the nearest town that is accessible by a 20-minute bus ride (in addition to the nearly three mile walk to the bus stop) where I did find a higher quality carton of pure organic coconut cream… but still no sign of a reasonably priced carton coconut OR almond milk.

Did I mention I’m in the [captivating, relaxing, sometimes boring, always magical, yet very remote] jungle?

Here is what I did manage to find in the local market: canned coconut cream (and canned coconut milk).

And the good news for my fellow dairy-free, non-leche drinking people out there? To make homemade Coconut Milk (a comparable version to Silk or Almond Breeze brands that you can use for shakes, cereal, or to simply drink as is) AND/OR Coconut Creamer for coffee or tea, all you need is a can or carton of coconut cream (a second option could be canned coconut milk), water, and a pour-able container to keep it in.

That’s it.

Fun fact: if you read the ingredients on a carton of the aforementioned popular American brands of coconut milk, you will see that they are mainly filtered water and coconut cream (with some added preservatives and vitamins)… which is exactly what’s happening here!

Of course I tend to get a little fancy and doctor things up, so I added a little bit of vanilla extract and a few stevia drops (which I obviously brought with me from the States) to make it taste just like slightly sweetened, cartoned vanilla coconut milk.

Whisking in a small amount of natural thickener such as xantham gum, guar gum, or gellan gum (if you can access it where you are) will lend a slightly thicker consistency that mimics store-bought Coconut Creamer even more – but the thinner, milkier version that results from this recipe suits my needs just fine. :)

And cost wise? One can of coconut cream cost me about 1500 colones (around $3 USD) and is enough for TWO to THREE GALLONS of drinkable coconut milk or creamer. One HALF gallon of Silk brand coconut milk typically costs $3-5 USD anywhere in the world that I’ve been, so this recipe is a very budget-friendly one that is well worth trying no matter where you are!

To prepare, you can whisk everything together or blend it in a blender. Then just pour into your chosen container like this perfect one I found on Amazon. It’s important to remember to keep it refrigerated and shake it up well before using each time since it does slightly separate (adding the thickening gum does help keep it more consistently smooth).

I mainly use this as a “creamer” for my coffee, but it would also make a great milk replacement for any of your milky needs.

Here’s the crazy simple recipe :) Enjoy!

Homemade Coconut Milk or Coffee Creamer

  • 14 C. coconut cream (ingredients should be only 100% coconut cream, if possible) OR 12 C. canned coconut milk (full fat, not “light”)  – shake cans well before opening
  • Slightly less than a 12 gallon of chilled, filtered water
  • Small pinch of sea salt
  • Optional (for vanilla flavor): 12 to 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Optional (for sweetness): Stevia drops to taste OR 1 Tbsp. cane sugar liquified in a small amount of warm water OR 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • Optional (for chocolate flavored): 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Optional (for coffee flavored): 2 Tbsp. instant coffee granules liquified in a small amount of hot water
  • Optional (for thickness): 12 tsp. guar gum, xanthan gum, or gellan gum

Directions

  1. Put coconut cream or milk, chilled water, sea salt, and your optional ingredients of choice in a blender and blend on low until all incorporated, about 1-2 minutes (you can also whisk very well in a large bowl).
  2. Carefully pour into your milk jug or container.
  3. Refrigerate (shaking well before each use) and enjoy as a milk or creamer! It should be good for about two weeks, though mine never lasts that long. Yum!

*If it doesn’t turn out “milky” enough for you, simply add more coconut cream by the teaspoon (or coconut milk by the tablespoon) until your desired flavor and consistency is reached. To make it thicker and creamier, add in more thickening gum by the one-eighth of a teaspoon and blend well after each addition.

*You can freeze your remaining coconut cream/milk in a separate container for future use.

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RECIPE: The BEST Cranberry Sauce (with a twist!) – Healthy, Vegan, Gluten Free

The holidays are upon us! A time for festive decoration, plenty of social events with coworkers, friends, and family, and a plethora of seasonal food favorites to enjoy.

If you’ve visited this blog before (or are subscribed to my YouTube channel), you have already gotten a taste for some of my go-to recipes for this time of year like:

I recently realized that the popular side dish and condiment, Cranberry Sauce, was missing from my growing arsenal of holiday recipes! So, now is the time to fix that.

Not only is the following recipe incredibly easy and with minimal ingredients, but it has an extra twist of flavor thanks to the mango juice, spices, and alternate sugar (like coconut). Plus, including apples and pears bumps up the nutritional value by increasing the vitamins, fiber, and flavonols to make your body one happy machine.

 

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Whatever you do – I beg you – never, ever choose those processed tin jars filled with a solid cylinder of cranberry jam. Then again, I can assure you that once you make this recipe you will never want to go back.

Without further ado, here’s this simple and amazing recipe! Try it out and let me know what you think… and feel free to share the link with others, too :)

 


The BEST Cranberry Sauce… with a twist!

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups coconut sugar, light brown sugar, and/or cane sugar (I will usually use a third of each or whatever I have on hand)
  • 16 oz fresh cranberries (two 8-oz bags)
  • One Fuji apple, peeled and chopped
  • One Bartlett pear (slightly ripe), peeled and chopped
  • One cup mango nectar or juice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg or allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain cranberries. Measure out the mango juice.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring cranberries, sugar, and mango nectar to a boil on high heat. Cranberries should begin to pop and coagulate with the liquid.
  3. Lower heat and let simmer for 10 minutes before adding chopped apple and pear. Also add spices.
  4. Let simmer together another 5 minutes or so, until all incorporated (but apple and pear should maintain their form and not mush up).
  5. Serve warm or let cool and refrigerate overnight if you prefer serving cold cranberry jam… It’s delicious both ways! This will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a week, though I’ve never had it last longer than a few days :)

Steps in Photos

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ENJOY!

 

RECIPE: How to Make HIGH PROTEIN PLANT BASED ICE CREAM – Vegan / Gluten Free / Nice Cream / Chocolate Lovers

I absolutely love this rich, chocolate “nice” cream and make it on the regular. It is not only easy and delicious, but the extra love from the legit hard chocolate shell topping really make it over the top.

ICE CREAM

This filling and flavorful dessert also happens to be a completely plant-based source of HIGH protein with over 30 grams in this recipe!  Plus, it’s great for any time of day: pre-workout, post-workout, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Shoot, even dessert after a big ol’ salad.

Watch the video here, recipe is below:

EASY, RICH, CHOCOLATE “NICE” CREAM

Ingredients:

1 cup Frozen Blueberries

2 Ripe Bananas, sliced and frozen solid

1-2 Tbsp High-Quality Cocoa Powder (like my favorite: Pernigotti Cocoa)

1 Scoop Plant Based Protein Powder (recommend: RawFusion Plant-Based Protein)

Generous Sprinkle of Ground Cinnamon

Small splash of Balsamic Vinegar

About a quarter to a third cup of Unsweetened Almond Milk (for desired consistency)

Directions:

  • Put the ingredients, in the order shown, into a high powder blender or food processor. Blend until all incorporated. Add more almond milk for desired consistency. Blend until smooth. Pour into bowl and set in freezer for 15-20 minutes.

To make the HARD CHOCOLATE SHELL COATING:

In a small bowl, mix: ½ Tbsp. melted coconut oil, 4-5 drops Liquid Stevia, a scant teaspoon high-quality cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt. Mix until smooth.

  • Take the bowl of ice cream out of the freezer and pour the chocolate shell coating mixture all over the top, using a spatula to get every last bit. It will harden in seconds.
  • Top your “nice” cream with something crunchy, like hemp hearts, chopped nuts, or sesame seeds.
  • Enjoy! :)

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Find more recipes and smart food-shopping tips in my Grocery Store Tour Guide!

RECIPE: How to Make the BEST Banana Pancakes – Vegan / Easy / Single-Serving / Gluten Free

This is one of my GO-TO recipes for the easiest, most delicious, minimal-ingredient Banana Pancakes ever…

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I have this almost every morning with my “moon egg” (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this video: https://youtu.be/pNkGUw9HPNE).

These Banana Pancakes are not only moist and delicious, but also happen to be vegan, gluten free, and sugar free (for you fans of the “free’s” out there) while being very fiber- and nutrient-rich. Not to mention, crazy flavorful!

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE, FULL RECIPE IS BELOW:

 
SINGLE-SERVING BANANA PANCAKES

Ingredients:

A Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (about 2 tsp.)

½ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk to start (have more on hand to get batter consistency)

A small splash of Pure Vanilla Extract (about ½ tsp.)

4-5 drops of Liquid Stevia (to taste)

½ of One Large, Ripe Banana (make sure it is spotty with brown and NOT green or all yellow)

1 Tbsp. Chia or Flaxseeds (or one packet of this Flax Chia Blend by Carrington Farms)

½ cup Quick Cooking Oats, pulsed in a blender or food processor to be semi-ground

½ tsp. Baking Powder

Generous sprinkle of Ground Cinnamon

A pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

  • Get out a 2-cup Liquid measuring cup, like this one I use in the video and a mini-spatula or fork. Put all of the liquid ingredients in the measuring cup (measuring as you go), stir, and let sit for a few minutes.
  • Take half of the banana and break it apart with your fingers as you add to the liquid ingredients. Then take a fork and mash/mix it in until larger chunks are gone.
  • Add in all dry ingredients, mixing well. Add more almond milk (typically ¼ to of a cup) until it is more of a moderate batter consistency – not too thin, but not thick. Allow the batter to thicken by letting it sit ~5-10 minutes.
  • Preheat stove top to medium heat (I typically go to level 4). Once pan is heated, spray pan with coconut oil spray. Give batter a quick stir and pour in about ¼ cup per pancake.
  • Set a timer for 3 minutes, then flip. Pancakes should be a light golden brown. Let other side cook another 3 minutes.
  • This makes 4-6 pancakes depending on your size. I like to pour a little maple syrup on the side and dip them, but you can also stack ’em up pretty and pour maple syrup on top! Feel free to slice up the other half of your banana to top them off, too!
  • ENJOY (I know you will… they’re amazing) :)

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Find more recipes and smart food-shopping tips in my Grocery Store Tour Guide!

 

Rich, Delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake (RECIPE) – Easy, no bake, dairy-free, vegan!

This is one of my go-to recipes when it comes to last minute requests for dessert, which is exactly what happened on Christmas this year. I was asked to bring a dessert the night before the big day – well after all the grocery stores were closed. Seeing as I normally have all of the ingredients on hand that are needed to put this Pumpkin Cheesecake together, it was easy breezy.

Too delicious to set up for a food photo shoot. Paper plate it is.
Too delicious to set up for a food photo shoot. Paper plate it is.

This dessert turns out super rich, indulgent, creamy, and cheesecake-y… despite not having any dairy whatsoever. Unless you let everyone know this is a plant-based dish, no one will guess that cashews are the “cheese” up in this cake. Not to mention, there are virtually no dirty dishes, give or take a few measuring utensils, because everything goes straight into the blender with no bowls or mixing necessary. It’s also fast to prepare since all you do is blend for a couple of minutes until it becomes nice and creamy.

The hard part is the waiting time for this to set, which still isn’t even that bad at only an hour or two.

Yaaaas this Pumpkin Cheesecake deserves a porcelain plate. But taste > aesthetics.
Yaaaas this Pumpkin Cheesecake deserves a porcelain plate. But taste > aesthetics.

All that said, it’s important to remember this is still an indulgent dessert. Just because it is made with more nutritious and quality ingredients than any store bought (or even traditionally made) cheesecake, doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all to have a handful of giant slices and nudge it off as okay since it’s “healthy“. I mention this because whenever I concoct any food things – whether it is a main dish, appetizer, dessert, drink, anything – I noticed many people assume it is a “healthier” or “lighter” version and, therefore, it’s okay to overindulge. This isn’t the case, as the macro-nutrients (namely, fat and sugar) do still add up which means that sometimes my versions aren’t necessarily lower-calorie versions. They’re just better quality options than others.

Treat any dessert like dessert, and any main dish as a main dish. Eat until your just about satisfied and avoid stuffing yourself. Treat this Pumpkin Cheesecake like you’d treat any special dessert or high-fat-high-sugar treat. (Hint: That means it may be best for your waistline to keep this recipe in your arsenal for potlucks or special date nights. Once you taste it, you’ll see why… It’s really freaking good and tough not to eat the whole thing yourself!)

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High quality ingredients does NOT always equal lower calorie treats!

Now, get to makin’… and make sure you enjoy each bite!

EASY, DELICIOUS PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE

For the filling:

  • 2 cups raw cashews (soaked in cool water overnight, or use boiled water and quick-soak for an hour)
  • ½ cup 100% pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • Juice from one lemon (about 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Scant ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • A good pinch of salt
  • tsp. Chinese five-spice powder *this is my secret addition for pumpkin pie, too! Adds a touch of special!
  • Optional: ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted (to sprinkle on top when serving)
  1. Place all of the above ingredients (except coconut flakes) in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour the creamy filling into a prepared graham-style pie crust, or into a raw crust (recipe below).
  3. Place in the freezer for ~2 hours or until solid.
  4. To serve, remove from freezer and let thaw enough to cut through (about 20 minutes before serving). To avoid the cheesecake from getting too soft, don’t leave out for more than an hour and keep any uneaten portion stored in freezer (it may get too soft in fridge). This will easily keep in the freezer for up to a month, I imagine… Though it’s never lasted more than a week at my house!
  5. ENJOY! :)

NO-BAKE, RAW PIE CRUST RECIPE

  • 1 cup raw almonds (or 1 1/4 cup almond flour) *Pecans would be great, too!
  • 1 cup of packed, pitted Medjool dates (about 15 medium sized dates)
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/16 tsp ground ginger
  • Needed: A spring form pan, if possible, Otherwise a pie dish or even 8×8 baking dish works.
  1. If using a spring form pan, line the bottom with parchment or wax paper (and cut into a circle).
  2. If using whole almonds, place them in a food processor and grind until it becomes a coarse flour (photo below). *If you’re using the almond flour, skip to next step.
  3. Remove ground almonds from food processor and set aside in a bowl.
  4. Place dates in food processor and process until they soften and one big sticky ball forms (photo below).
  5. Add ground almonds back in with salt, cinnamon, and ginger, and continue processing until the texture becomes small crumbles that easily stick together when you press them between your fingers.
  6. Pour the crust mixture into the spring form pan (or pie dish, or baking dish), and press down with your fingers until it covers the entire area (photo below). *Wet your fingers with a little bit of water if you find it’s too sticky.
  7. Pour in your favorite pie filling (like the Pumpkin Cheesecake above) and you’re good to go!
Line your spring form pan…

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Grind up those almonds…

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Process the dates until a ball forms…

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Add ground almonds back in and process to reach this consistency…

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Press crust into bottom of pan…

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Pour in the pumpkin cheesecake filling and smooth with the back of a spatula…

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let set, cut, serve, and enjoy! :)

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3-Minute Chocolate Protein Cake (aka: the 2:30 AM Mudd Cake)

I’m going to keep this short and simple so you can try it, stat. Here is something so easy, SO yummy, and my clients have probably heard me mention it once or twice (hence the requests for this post, which I apologize for how long it took me to do)!
This individually-sized chocolate cake literally takes just a few minutes to make and uses simple, protein-packed ingredients that will satisfy your sweet tooth without artificial ingredients, sugars, or additives. The recipe is also gluten-free, dairy-free, and even vegan if you replace the liquid egg whites with a vegan-friendly egg substitute.
Easy Vegan Egg Substitute:  Mix 2 Tbsp ground flax (seed or meal) with 6 Tbsp warm water. Let sit for about five minutes, until it becomes a gooey, egg-like consistency. Use in recipe as you would eggs/egg whites.
Plus, did you know that cocoa actually has numerous health benefits, including alleviating cravings and encouraging satiety?  You’ll be surprised at how moist, rich, and delicious this turns out (and this is, admittedly, coming from someone who is NOT typically a fan of microwaving anything… never mind baked goods)!
Even more exciting news? This is just the first of a number of recipes (and videos) I will be posting featuring my most favorite, plant-based protein, RawFusion by SAN.
So here she is, the 3-Minute Chocolate Protein Cake (originally named the 2:30 AM Mudd Cake by the other half, who can also be credited for the lovely photo you see below… before it was devoured, of course).

RawFusion chocolate cake

3-Minute Chocolate Protein Cake (makes one serving)

In a mug or small bowl, whisk together the following:

From there, simply put it in the microwave at a power level of 5 for 2 minutes (adjusting that power level is super important to ensure the right finished product here). Anddd… DONE!

(Could that have been any easier?!)

If you want to get even fancier, feel free to top it off with the following:

Sweet ‘n Creamy Vanilla Sauce (enough for two servings of cake)

Simply whisk together the following in a bowl:

  • 1/2 Scoop of RawFusion protein (vanilla flavor preferred here!)
  • 1/4 C. unsweetened Almond Milk (or enough to make it a thick-but-pourable consistency)
  • 1 Tbsp Stevia
  • 1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

After the cakes are done, flip them over onto plates and then spoon that goodness on top. You can also sprinkle with some chopped nuts (like the pistachios seen above)! ENJOY :)